If you are in need of TMJ therapy, Dr. Timothy Kelly can provide you with substantial long-term relief. The headaches, facial pain and other effects of TMJ disorder can be agonizing, and unfortunately, many sufferers do not realize the relationship between their bite and these painful symptoms. Dr. Kelly is an expert in TMJ disorder, and can use advanced diagnostics to determine the root cause of your pain and effectively fix the problem. He can then perform the highly customized restorative dental treatments necessary to achieve and maintain that position.
A thorough diagnostic process by a trained dentist is a must. Using a variety of diagnostic tools, Dr. Kelly is able to combine his years of experience to understand the complexity, diagnosis, and treatment of the TMJ and related disorders. His diagnostic methods include but are not limited to the gathering of clinical data using:
TMJ symptoms rarely subside without treatment. It is usually best to avoid overuse of the jaw muscles by eating soft foods, cutting food into small bites, avoid chewing gum, and chewy or sticky foods. Ice and OTC (over the counter) ibuprofen are first line of treatments for acute pain in or around the TMJ’s followed by warm moist heat in some instances.
We try to avoid using pharmaceuticals at all costs. However, if OTC pain relievers are not strong enough, then prescription medication may be warranted. If a bite discrepancy is discovered, an orthopaedic repositioning of the TMJ’s relative to the cranial base gives the body the best chance to feel better.
This will involve a mouthguard called a Biologic Orthopaedic Positioner that is adjusted on a regular basis, the goal being to align and stabilize the mandible. This splint a diagnostic tool which initiates the healing process, and quite often, patients begin to feel an improvement rather quickly. It is a complex system, but if we give the body what it needs, it has the ability to respond favorably.
Many notice a decrease in headaches, less head and neck pain, and many say that they sleep much better. It usually takes anywhere from 8-12 weeks of full time Positioner wear to enable your body to adapt and get to a stable joint position for the TMJ’s.
After this, permanent treatment to maintain this ideal mandibular jaw position can then be discussed. Every individual is different, and the treatments vary from one patient to the next. However, there are common goals for the treatments, and by having an understanding of how the healthy chewing system functions, we can design a specific plan to maintain your health and comfort.
Corrective dental treatment that improves the bite and its relationship to the TMJ can only be attempted after a correct diagnosis is established and proven as the cause of the symptoms. This type of treatment is considered non-reversible and may include orthodontic treatment, adjusting of the bite, or the replacement of teeth that have been damaged due to the bite discrepancy.
Surgery is usually not necessary in tooth to jaw joint position discrepancies unless the size of the discrepancy warrants orthognathic (jaw) surgery to align the upper and lower jaw. Surgery of the joints themselves is usually only warranted in acute injury situations such as whiplash or in instances of bone tumors and complete disc displacement.